VILNIUS – Lithuanian airports are busy preparing for July's NATO summit in Vilnius, the biggest and most important event hosted by the country this year, hiring extra staff and coordinating security procedures.
There will also be changes for travelers as all commercial flights will be banned within a 30-kilometer radius of Vilnius' Litexpo Exhibition Center during the summit, in line with NATO's security requirements.
The ban will be in place from noon on July 11 to 2 p.m. on July 12.
The summit is expected to bring together around 40 delegations from NATO member and partner countries.
Their aircraft will land in Vilnius and Kaunas airports, which will affect an estimated 100 regular flights, according to Lietuvos Oro Uostai (Lithuanian Airports, LTOU).
Because of higher-than-usual air traffic, disruptions and delays are possible even before the airspace over the Lithuanian capital is closed.
Litcargus, a passenger and aircraft ground handling company, says it is hiring more than 20 additional staff to ensure a smooth reception of the delegations and their aircraft.
The company says it is also facing a big challenge in having its equipment ready to accommodate all the arriving aircraft in the airport area, and is also making preparations to ensure that its staff can come safely and on time to the airports.
Tour operators say that they were informed of the planned air traffic restrictions in mid-April and have adjusted the times of their flights scheduled for the period.